“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
I have lived a very prodigal, lavish life. Prior to coming to Christ, I took a rough turn in the 9th grade, becoming opposed to school when a teacher gave me a zero on what I thought was the best thing I’d ever written. After that I barely graduated high school (seriously if not for grace shown by my music theory teacher in particular I wouldn't have stood a chance), then dropped out of college after one day into my second semester to pursue music full time. I had been going to school for business-marketing, but decided my interest was in creating the music and not in learning how to make great profit from it. Add to the equation a 40K college fund that was transferred to my name at age 21 and you have, well, a prodigal life. Interestingly, just as my well was running dry, I gave my life to Christ. Music soon took the back burner as I began to engage in full-time missionary work. I was blessed to be in churches that believed in supporting and empowering young missionary workers (Germantown SDA and REACH Philadelphia). The day I didn't have enough money to buy a toothbrush was the day before I got my first stipend check for Bible work. God was teaching me to trust Him.
God was not going to let those years developing the craft of music go to waste. He led me to Jennifer Schwirzer who gave me the opportunity to rap and sing on The Lamb Wins, an album based on the book of Revelation. Even this was handed to me with much grace as I took longer than anyone else involved with the project to finish my songs, waiting till the last minute to write many of my verses. My first tour was with The Lamb Wins in Florida and it was booked entirely by Jen. All I had to do was get on the plane. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The first gig was at a campus cafe venue much like the ones I used to rap in when I was seeking to make a name for myself, but now I knew I was seeking to point people to the glory of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! I didn't want it to end. But after the tour was over, it seemed definite that it would unless I stepped into the role of booking agent for The Lamb Wins. God was teaching me to take responsibility.
My dad used to always tell me I should learn the business aspect of music. Now, if I wanted to receive the blessing God was clearly handing to me, it would mean applying myself in a way I had had the luxury of avoiding until this point. I embraced it and booked my first tour in California. Alison Brook, John Millea and I helped Nathan Renner with an evangelistic series on the book of Revelation. We performed at other churches in our spare time. The pressure was real as I organized and managed the tour, hoping that the newly married Alison and John (not with each other) would make enough money for it to be worth their while. It was not as enjoyable as the other tour because I often allowed myself to feel pressured and stressed. I hope in the future I can be more trusting in God’s care. He worked everything out and we did exceedingly and abundantly better than we expected. I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones, hearing elderly ladies say they liked my raps, and taking in the beautiful countryside of Central California. My house parents made me feel at home and cared for; I couldn’t have asked for a better host family in Sonora. God was teaching me to enjoy working for Him.
I realize this interesting balance. I know I must make every effort to make this work, at the same time I know that God is the one who makes it work and without him it will fail, even if it appears to be successful by some standards. It is a month to month thing, and unless more shows are booked, The Lamb Wins tours will not continue. I ask that you will please pray for me, that I am repentant, humble before God and do not presume upon His kindness but at the same time that I am at rest and at peace in His protective care. He is calling me, and He is equipping me. I know my only safety and true joy is in heeding His call and abiding in Him. He is teaching me to trust Him responsibly.
- Lee Givhan